Cycling is an activity that has been established as good for both the environment and your health.
Yet some of us find our cycling potential cut back for various reasons: an injury or disability, the aches and pains of aging, or just plain hills whose difficulty make for good views but too-challenging climbs.
Motorized cycles have become the answer to many for those challenges—and they have come to Maryland in their first (and now only) store for the Pedego brand, found in California and other states.
Green Frederick talked to Mimi Zee, one of the co-owners with Scott Alexander and Todd Ricci, about how the bikes work and how people are already using them.
Scott first came up with the idea as a passionate Fredericktonian who wanted to bring a useful product/service to his hometown; it opened last June and has already sold well for a number of reasons, they say.
“It’s good for people with disabilities,” Mimi says, who have mentioned in their purchasing process that most bikes made for disabled people draw notice because they aren’t designed to LOOK like bikes. Pedego bikes, they say, do.
Other buyers either have work situations where they work from home or don’t have a distant commute. So for financial, environmental or parking reasons, people want to shed their cars. The cargo bike holds 400 lbs. in addition the rider.A group of siblings wanted their aging father to be able to get around on short trips but did not want him driving, so all chipped in to get him a Pedego bike that he loves.“This is going to be that guy’s key to independence,” Mimi says.
Others who previously cycled frequently threw in the towel when their muscles and joints no longer could take the long rides. “People come back and say not that they have our bike we’re doing things we never did,” Mimi says.
How They Operate
Of course, it’s not necessary to give up all exercise with these bikes . You can choose not to use the motorized element of the bike, or only use it on low to require more exertion. On the other hand, the ability to “power up” can give people the confidence to get through a stoplight or a busy intersection, and power down for regular riding.
The bike holds a lithium battery, weighing about 9 pounds, which most people lock up or carry into their destination when not in use. It charges in a regular electric outlet, and holds the charge for a one-hour ride, on average.
The average bike Mimi says, costs an average $3,500. While some people look at retrofit kits which are less expensive, they often find they the retrofits are not quite as easy to ride, Mimi says. Retrofits to existing bicycles do not account for the weight of the battery in their design for rider weight. Additionally, people who buy bikes at Pedego receive service for repairs at the shop.
Pedego offers test drives to customers; bring your helmet, or use one there.
Estimates in the electric bike world claim the average e-bike battery uses .4-.7 KW hours of power per charge (Pedego says its bike is .72) , which could provide juice enough to cover more than 50 miles. The amount of carbon required to generate the electricity depends on the electricity source; fossil fuels will have a large impact
Grist magazine, in a recent article, tackled the issue of transportation: “An estimate by the National Association of City Transportation Officials found that 7,500 bikes can move through a two-way protected bike lane in an hour, compared to the 600 to 1,600 car passengers that can squeeze into the same single lane of road in the same amount of time.“ And, using the data from a study in Norway, the University of Washington determined that if every American living within five miles of their work were to commute by bike (without taking into account power/resources used to create the bikes, or the cars) at least one day a week, it would be like taking a million cars off the road entirely.
“Motor vehicles produce more than 30% of carbon dioxide, 80% of carbon monoxide, and 50% of nitrogen oxide emissions each year in the U.S.,” the University of Washington estimates.
Pedego Electric Bike info: https://www.pedegoelectricbikes.com/info/
“Will E-Bikes Help the Environment”, University of Washington: http://www.conservationmagazine.org/2015/03/will-e-bikes-help-the-environment/
More tips on Electric Bikes: https://www.cynergyebikes.com/about-ebikes-s/117.htm